Rangers take on Lincoln Red Imps tonight in the second qualifying round of the Europa League with the added pressure of only having one chance to make the next stage.
Steven Gerrard’s men have yet to concede a goal this season – technically we played Bayer Leverkusen in 2019/20 – and the Gibraltan’s will know that they face an uphill battle in breaking down the current version of the Iron Curtain.
Amazingly, in seven Premiership fixtures, Rangers have conceded just ten shots on target and a game high of six shots attempted from any of the teams that the Ibrox side has faced.
ANOTHER clean sheet @RangersFC?
Aye… go on then… pic.twitter.com/YpsaB99FTi
— Modern Fitba (@ModernFitba) September 16, 2020
With this in mind, the Gers gaffer should maintain a consistent selection in defence, additionally, there isn’t the same congestion as usual with another international break just around the corner, regardless of how hard the domestic fixtures may be, injuries in key positions limit how much rotation he can implement.
This is the side I would go with to seal progress to the next round where a tie against Willem II awaits:
The front four almost picks itself but a lot will depend on the fitness of Alfredo Morelos, he took an active part in training and has been declared available by the boss, but with Cedric Itten also in contention, he could decide to leave the Colombian on the bench so that he is fresh for Easter Road at the weekend.
In midfield, we cannot keep playing Steven Davis and Scott Arfield did enough in his 30 minute cameo against Dundee United, where he scored one and created another, to suggest that his inclusion would in no way weaken the team – if anything, having a player that is more likely to drive forward could be beneficial in a game where possession will be dominated.
Who would you start through the middle?
Rangers should have enough to easily progress but there is still that scar tissue from Progres and because the Imps managed a 1-0 win in Brendan Rodgers first game in charge for Celtic a few years ago, the knife-edge nature of the game makes it a lot more nerve wracking than it normally would be.
On a hiding to nothing, anything less than a 3-0 win would probably been seen as a disappointing night, anything other than a win would top the disaster in Luxembourg.